Qatar Airways planning substantial job cuts: Company notice

Qatar Airways is planning to cut a significant number of jobs because travel has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and told cabin crew to prepare for redundancies, a company notice seen by Reuters said on Tuesday. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 05 May 2020

Qatar Airways planning substantial job cuts: Company notice

  • Airline said in March it was burning through its cash reserves and would eventually seek government aid

DUBAI: Qatar Airways is planning to cut a significant number of jobs because travel has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and told cabin crew to prepare for redundancies, according to a company notice seen by Reuters.
The state-owned airline, one of few global carriers still operating scheduled services, said in March it was burning through its cash reserves and would eventually seek government aid.
“We have to face a new reality, where many borders are closed, rendering many of our destinations closed and aircraft grounded as a result, with no foreseeable outlook for immediate, positive change,” Chief Executive Akbar Al-Baker said in the notice to cabin crew.
“The truth is, we simply cannot sustain the current numbers and we need to make a substantial number of jobs redundant — inclusive of Cabin Crew.”
A Qatar Airways spokesman confirmed a number of roles were being made redundant due to the impact of COVID-19.
“The unparalleled impact on our industry has caused significant challenges for all airlines and we must act decisively to protect the future of our business,” the spokesman told Reuters.
Neither the notice or the spokesman said how many jobs would be cut.
A Qatar Airways spokesman had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters outside of normal business hours on Tuesday.
Affected employees would be paid their contractual dues and any owed overtime, the notice said, and those who are not able to immediately return to their home countries would be provided with housing and a living allowance until such a return was possible.
The airline said last month some staff would have their wages halved for at least three months though would be later paid back.
Qatar Airways Group, which counts the airline among its assets, had 46,684 employees at the end of its last reported financial year in March 2019.
Rivals Emirates and Etihad Airways have temporarily slashed wages as they try to weather the crisis, while budget carrier Air Arabia earlier on Tuesday said it had laid off 57 employees.


Lufthansa accepts tweaked demands by Brussels over state bailout

Updated 30 May 2020

Lufthansa accepts tweaked demands by Brussels over state bailout

  • Lufthansa and the rest of the airline sector have been hard hit by what is expected to be a protracted travel slump

BERLIN/FRANKFURT: Lufthansa’s management board has accepted a more favorable set of demands from the European Commission in exchange for approval of a $10 billion government bailout, the carrier said on Saturday, paving the way for its rescue.
The agreement comes after the airline’s supervisory board on Wednesday rejected an initial deal with Brussels including conditions that were significantly more painful.
Lufthansa and the rest of the airline sector have been hard hit by what is expected to be a protracted travel slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the latest agreement, Lufthansa said it will be obliged to transfer up to 24 takeoff and landing slots for up to four aircraft to one rival each at the Frankfurt and Munich airports.
This translates into three take-off and three landing rights per aircraft and day, it said, confirming what sources had earlier told Reuters.
“For one-and-a-half years, this option is only available to new competitors at the Frankfurt and Munich airports,” Lufthansa said, initially excluding budget carrier Ryanair. “If no new competitor makes use of this option, it will be extended to existing competitors at the respective airports.”
The previous deal had included forfeiting 72 slots used by 12 of 300 jets based at the Frankfurt and Munich airports, a source familiar with the matter said.
The slots, to be allocated in a bidding process, can be taken over only by a European peer that has not received any substantial state aid during the pandemic, Lufthansa said.
The Commission said once it has been officially notified by Germany on the aid package it will assess the issue as a matter of priority.
“(Lufthansa’s remedies will) enable a viable entry or expansion of activities by other airlines at these airports to the benefit of consumers and effective competition,” it said in a statement.
The airline’s supervisory board needs to approve the deal, Lufthansa said, adding it would convene an extraordinary general meeting to obtain shareholder approval for the bailout.
The largest German corporate rescue since the coronavirus crisis struck will see the government get a 20 percent stake in Lufthansa, which could rise to 25 percent plus one share in the event of a takeover attempt. A deal would also give the government two seats on Lufthansa’s supervisory board.
Rivals such as Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM and US carriers American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are all seeking state aid due to the economic effects of the pandemic.
Germany, which has set up a $110 billion fund to take stakes in companies hit by the pandemic, said it plans to sell the Lufthansa stake by the end of 2023.
“The German government, Lufthansa and the European Commission have reached an important intermediate step in the aid negotiations,” the Economy Ministry said in a statement.
It said talks with the Commission over state aid would continue.